The Ontario Ombudsman has just released a report, after three years of research, called “A Matter Of Life and Death” in which he makes it clear there has to be improvements to police training when it comes to communications before the use of force in conflict situations. Anytime there is a police involved shooting with major headlines I am asked, “what do you think?” My answer is almost always “training”, wait until the dust settles and see what type of training the officer had. The type of training is the most important part of an investigation when an officer discharges his/her firearm.

I can see the importance of a report like this, but under no circumstances should any changes be brought in where it will affect officer safety. Let’s not have tunnel vision and just put everything on the officer involved. Remember the other person involved will not go by any rules already in place, or understand any changes the government wants to bring in when it comes to the type of training a police officer gets.

With some officer involved shootings, including the mentally challenged, you would think the Ombudsman would also include research and reports involving the Health Care and their involvement, like the role of doctors and medical facilities when a subject is mentally challenged. What about the training of a doctor whose patient ends up in a confrontation with the police that does not end well?

There is a lot more to this situation than just police training. The government should hold everyone responsible, including all three levels of government. Someone should ask why it takes three years to conclude a report by The Ombudsman, which should have been concluded in less than a year. There were dozens of confrontations with the police in those three years and with improved training may have had better endings. Like I said in the past, this is more than a police problem.

Craig Bromell